In Landmark Decision, Supreme Court Rules That Title VII Prohibits Employment Discrimination of Gay and Transgender Individuals

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s prohibition of sex discrimination encompasses discrimination against gay and transgender individuals. Justice Neil Gorsuch authored the 6-3 majority opinion and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Elena Kagan.

Reading Between the Lines: Which Domestic Travel Quarantine Guidelines Apply?

Most readers are likely now familiar with the initial travel guidance for international travel issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since then, governors have taken the lead in issuing orders related to COVID-19 for, among other things, closing businesses, mandating citizens stay home, and only permitting essential businesses to operate. Along with those orders, many have issued guidance related to quarantines for out-of-state travelers, including those who have only traveled domestically within the United States. Many of these orders are expressly aimed at discouraging interstate travel other than for essential services.

Washington Extends Stay-at-Home Order and Puts Plan in Place to Reopen

On May 4, 2020, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-25.3, extending Washington’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation, which was set to expire on May 4, 2020, to May 31, 2020. The governor’s office also released Washington’s Safe Start plan, detailing a four-phase approach to reopen the state in three-week intervals, which may be adjusted depending on various risk indicators.

Employees at High Risk for Severe COVID-19 Illness May Be Entitled to Job Protections in Washington State

Washington State recently issued new protections for workers who are at “high risk” of severe illness or death from COVID-19. The protections, created by Governor Jay Inslee’s Proclamation 20-46, affect both essential businesses and nonessential businesses expecting to reopen between April 13 and June 12, 2020, when the emergency proclamation expires, unless it is lawfully extended in accordance with Washington’s emergency powers laws.

Changes on the Horizon for Washington State’s Pay Equity Law: Salary History Inquiries

On May 9, 2019, Washington State governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1696, “an act relating to wage and salary information.” The new law is similar to legislation being promulgated throughout the country, including by Washington’s neighbor to the south, Oregon. This law will become effective on July 28, 2019.

Recent Amendments to Seattle’s Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance Will Take Effect on January 1, 2018

With Washington State’s paid sick leave law taking effect on January 1, 2018, Washington employers should be prepared to implement statewide policies in addition to policies covering employees in SeaTac, Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. However, employers should not overlook changes to the Seattle Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance that were adopted on December 15, 2017.

Washington State’s Paid Sick and Safe Leave Update: The Administrative Regulations Are Finally Final

Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries has now concluded its process for drafting and finalizing the regulations for implementing Washington’s paid sick leave law, which becomes effective on January 1, 2018. Now employers can finish drafting legally compliant paid sick leave policies. The complementary enforcement regulations are still a work in progress and are not expected to be finalized until at least mid-December 2017.

Washington State Enacts Healthy Starts Act, Requires Accommodation for Pregnant Employees Regardless of Disability

The new Washington state Healthy Starts Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide accommodations to pregnant employees above and beyond those accommodations required by other available laws, including the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA). Some of the required accommodations must be provided without medical certification and regardless of whether such accommodations would create an undue hardship.

Washington’s New Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Become Law With Fast-Approaching Effective Dates

With all of the votes counted, Initiative 1433, which will raise the minimum wage and require paid sick leave throughout Washington, has passed by a fairly wide margin. The first substantial increase in the minimum wage begins on January 1, 2017, while the paid sick leave requirement goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Here are the key details about both the minimum wage increase and the paid sick leave requirements.

Quest for “Living Wage” Results in Minimum Wage Increases in Kansas City, Missouri

After months of heated debate, Kansas City, Missouri’s City Council voted to incrementally increase the minimum wage in Kansas City, Missouri over time from the current state-mandated $7.65 per hour to $13.00 per hour in 2020. The first incremental increase takes effect on August 24, 2015, and increases the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour—an $0.85 per hour increase.

City of Columbia Is First in Missouri to Approve “Ban the Box” Legislation for Private and Public Employers

In keeping with the “ban the box” legislative trend, the Columbia City Council unanimously passed a “ban the box” ordinance on December 1, 2014. The ordinance, which went into effect immediately, prohibits public and private employers operating in the City of Columbia from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history in any way prior to making